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Bright lights illuminate dark corners, highlights your display cabinet, and brightens up rooms that do not receive much sunlight. Dim lights provide a cozy ambience for sleeping, and downplay harsh corners of your house.

Lighting can impact everything from your sleep to your attire. But there are so many different options to choose from. What are some rooms that require specific lighting? We shine the light on the types of lighting that is required for the different rooms in your house.

Rooms that require specific lightings:

CONSIDER EACH ROOM’S FUNCTION

Generally, lighting function falls in one of three categories: ambient, task, and accent. To properly light your rooms using these categories, consider how you’re going to use each room and whether there’s anything you want to accent in the room. Then, start layering. Start with ambient lighting, and then consider task and accent lighting.

General or Ambient Lighting illuminates all of the room and is considered the room’s “natural light”. You might use a chandelier, pendant light, and track lighting or wall sconces to create ambient light that fills the room. Task Lighting lights up a work or reading area. This has to be brighter than your ambient lighting, so the contrast focuses the light in the specified area. Desk lamps and under-cabinet kitchen lights are common task lighting options. Accent Lighting highlights a particular area, like a work of art or a bookcase. It usually creates shadow around the object for a striking effect. Wall lights and landscape lights are common accent lights.

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With kitchens, add your ambient light overhead, and then add lower task lighting to illuminate the counter space where you work. If possible, the sink is also a good spot to add task lighting.

Kitchens are a challenge to light because they serve so many purposes — food prep, family dinners, homework location. Layering light — recessed, pendants, ceiling fixtures — gives you the type of light you need. To reduce shadows, place recessed lights on the sides of ceilings. Light kitchen islands so shadows don’t fall where you’ll be cutting vegetables or kneading dough. Chandeliers in the centre of the room should have shades that direct light down. Always install under-cabinet lights for task lighting. Use above-cabinet lighting for ambient and mood lighting.

Within the dining area, don’t position lights above your dining chairs — it’ll cast ugly shadows on faces. Adjustable recessed lights (ones you can position at different angles) are great for highlighting centrepieces, candles, or flowers.

Living room lighting should be flexible for the many things you do at home — sit and talk, read, watch TV, play games, etc. Your living room will need to make the most of the three lighting layers mentioned earlier. With ambient lighting, avoid placing lights directly over seating unless you angle them away. Use task lighting, usually lamps, for reading and other things you do while sitting. In addition to ambient light, use an accent light in one corner of the room. Focus on an object, like a piece of art or a chair. Install accent lighting in the form of spotlights and picture lights for the room’s focal point and artwork. If you’re lighting several pictures, light the wall with track lighting or spotlight.

Image by SHUTTERSTOCK

Image by SHUTTERSTOCK

It’s common to have task lighting in your bedroom on nightstands. Make sure there is no light directly shining towards the bed. Install recessed lighting or a centre fixture for general bedroom tasks, such as making the bed, dressing, and cleaning. Use table lamps with warm lights to help set the mood for rest and relaxation. Add dimmers to bedroom lights so you can quickly change the mood.

Bathroom lighting can be tricky. You want task lighting for the mirror, but an overhead task light can create shadows. Consider lighting the mirror on either side. Then, use an overhead ambient light to fully illuminate the room. Ceiling fixtures aren’t good lights for applying makeup or shaving; they cast shadows on faces. Placing lights on the sides of a mirror is better. Install dimmers for middle-of-the-night bathroom visits.

Image by SHUTTERSTOCK

Image by SHUTTERSTOCK

For study areas don’t forget to highlight your accomplishments with adjustable recessed lights or surface-mounted spotlights. Use recessed lights at the walls to make home offices feel larger and look brighter. Poorly placed lights will produce annoying reflections on computer screens. Portable lamps are good light choices because you can move them to avoid reflections. If you’re in and out of your office all day, install occupancy sensor controls to avoid energy waste.

CHOOSE THE RIGHT BULBS

Your bulb is your light source, so the type of bulb determines what the light will look like. Incandescent are the traditional bulbs most of us have used for decades, and they’re starting to phase out in favour of more energy-efficient options. They produce a warm, glowing light. The more commonly used bulb is light-emitting diode lighting (LED) bulb. LED lighting is energy efficient and offers various options, from dim soft lighting for bedrooms, to sparkling bright for kitchens and extra bright light for study areas. The bulbs also come in different shapes and sizes, and can be used anywhere from your standing lamp to your ambient ceiling light. Other commonly used bulbs are halogen bulbs, which give off a bright, white light, similar to natural daylight. These are great for task lighting. Look out for the bulb packaging for information about brightness, how long the bulb will last, how much energy it uses, and whether it meets Energy Star requirements.

A typical home bulb produces about 800 lumens, which is the equivalent of 60 watts. So how many lumens do you need for each room? That’ll depend on how big your room is, what colour your walls are, and, obviously, intensity of lighting you prefer. Kitchens are typically brighter and include a mix of ambient light and task lighting, for example. Bedrooms and living rooms are typically less bright.

All in all, keep this information keep in mind when you are selecting the light for your house and you’ll keep your home lit for years.

Still Confused? Here’s a quick summary!

KITCHEN

LIVING ROOM

BEDROOM

BATHROOMS

STUDY ROOMS

LIGHTING FUNCTION Ambient for overall lighting, and task lighting for the counter spaces. Ambient light for overall lighting, and accent lighting to focus on one corner of the room. It’s common to have task lighting in your bedroom on nightstands. Make sure there is no light directly shining towards the bed. Consider lighting the mirror on either side. Then, use an overhead ambient light to fully illuminate the room. Train recessed lights at the walls to make home offices feel larger and look brighter.

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